One of the signs of growing up is that you get out of your booster seat and can sit in a car with a seat belt like grown-up. Well, that could all change now that new guidelines recommend leaving kids in booster seats into their tweens.
According to a report on NBC's "The Today Show," the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its car and booster seat recommendations, and they result in keeping kids in them longer.
The report said the changes include:
-- Children should ride rear-facing to age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. (The old policy from 2002 cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as a minimum for when to turn a seat around.)
-- Children should use a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old.
-- Children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they are 13 years old.
It's that middle one that is sure to draw the ire of older children. Will they really want to sit in a booster seat until the age of 12, making them feel like babies? Probably not, but it could be for their own good.
Dr. Dennis Durbin, lead author of the AAP's policy statement, said, “For larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.”
New Jersey mom Carolyn Murray admits the new policy is a good idea, but she won't follow it for her eleven-year-old daughter.
"I agree it's probably safer with short children, since seat belts can cut into their neck. But there's no way she is going to sit in a booster seat. It's an image thing," she told "Today."
The girl agreed. "My friends would laugh."
However, Nebraska mother Melissa Dixon will indeed adhere to the new policy. As a short woman, she knows first-hand about seat belts.
"I'm 4 feet 10 and I don't feel comfortable when I sit in the backseat because of the way the strap hits my neck." said Dixon.
She said she will keep her daughter in a booster until she is at least her mom's height.
"I think it's a matter of safety first," Dixon said. "I'd rather my kid complain about sitting in a booster seat that have them get hurt in a car accident."